Using Qualifiers to enhance this postseason (it’s a breakdown of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Round Robin action). Plus the Seattle Kraken!
The last place in the National Hockey League, Detroit Red Wings, beat the first place in the NHL, Boston Bruins, 3-1, Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena.
Red Wings goaltender, Jonathan Bernier (12-14-2 record, 2.82 goals against average, .911 save percentage in 32 games played), stopped 39 out of 40 shots against for a .975 SV% in the win.
Bruins netminder, Tuukka Rask (20-5-6, 2.14 GAA, .911 SV% in 32 games played) made 17 saves on 19 shots faced for an .895 SV% in the loss after starting in Saturday’s, 4-2, win over the Arizona Coyotes.
Boston fell to 34-11-12 (80 points) on the season, but remained in command of the Atlantic Division, while Detroit improved their record to 14-39-4 (32 points), despite staying in 8th place in the Atlantic.
The Bruins also fell to 15-9-3 on the road this season and are 0-2-0 against the Red Wings with two games remaining against Detroit in their season series.
Boston was without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Connor Clifton (upper body), Joakim Nordstrom (allergy complications) and Jeremy Lauzon (suspension) on Sunday, while Bruce Cassidy made a few minor changes to his lineup.
Danton Heinen returned to action on the fourth line left wing in Detroit, while Anton Blidh was joined by Urho Vaakanainen as the only healthy scratches for the B’s.
Vaakanainen was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on an emergency basis in case Brandon Carlo’s flight was delayed.
On defense, Carlo was back from his personal leave on the second pairing with Torey Krug and John Moore filled in on the right side of the third pairing with Matt Grzelcyk while Lauzon served the first half of his two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Arizona Coyotes forward, Derek Stepan, on Saturday.
Nordstrom, meanwhile, was retroactively placed on the injured reserve and may be available in time for Wednesday night’s action against the Montreal Canadiens.
Jaroslav Halak was expected to start in goal for Boston and took part in warmups as usual, but was not given the green light to start the game after feeling ill.
Instead, Rask made back-to-back starts on back-to-back days while Halak was deemed “available if necessary”. The last time Rask played on consecutive days was Nov. 12-13, 2016.
He won on both days as the Bruins beat the Coyotes, 2-1, on Nov. 12, 2016 and Colorado Avalanche, 2-0, on Nov. 13, 2016.
Brad Marchand tripped up Bernier in the trapezoid at 3:01 of the first period and presented Detroit with the game’s first power play, but the Red Wings weren’t able to convert on the skater advantage.
Midway through the opening frame, Sean Kuraly tripped Valtteri Filppula at 10:55 and put the Red Wings back on the power play, but once more Detroit could not score.
In the vulnerable minute after special teams play, Trevor Daley was guilty of holding Kuraly at 13:15 and gave Boston their first power play of the afternoon.
The B’s went on a two-skater advantage after Filppula tripped Jake DeBrusk at 13:57 and presented the Bruins with a 1:18 span of 5-on-3 action, but Bernier stood tall and denied each shot fired at him.
Late in the period, Justin Abdelkader tripped Charlie Coyle and presented Boston with another power play at 16:10, but Detroit’s penalty killing efforts were well oiled by that point and killed off Abdelkader’s minor infraction with ease.
Entering the first intermission, the score remained tied, 0-0, and and the Bruins led in shots on goal, 12-6.
Boston also held the advantage in takeaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (65-35), while Detroit led in blocked shots (5-1), giveaways (4-3) and hits (8-5).
The Red Wings were 0/2 and the B’s were 0/3 on the power play heading into the middle period.
Early in the middle frame, Brendan Perlini (1) deked around Carlo and snapped a shot off of Rask’s glove and into the twine to give Detroit the first lead of the afternoon, 1-0, at 2:07 of the second period.
Adam Erne (2) had the only assist on Perlini’s first goal of the season, as well as his first as a Red Wing.
Midway through the second period, Marchand thought he had tied the game on a tip-in through Bernier’s five-hole off a no-look shot from David Pastrnak initially, but Red Wings head coach, Jeff Blashill, used his coach’s challenge– arguing that Boston had actually been offside entering the zone prior to the goal.
After review, it was determined that the Bruins were offside as Patrice Bergeron was in the midst of stepping off the ice and into the visiting bench while on a line change as Krug rocketed the puck around the boards.
The call on the ice was overturned– no goal– and the Red Wings remained in command of a, 1-0, lead with 7:27 remaining in the second period.
Late in the period, Detroit defender, Patrik Nemeth, held DeBrusk and was sent to the sin bin as a result at 17:04, but the Bruins went unsuccessful on the ensuing power play opportunity.
Through 40 minutes of action on Sunday afternoon, the Red Wings were still ahead, 1-0, despite trailing Boston in shots on goal, 26-13.
The B’s held the advantage in faceoff win% (56-44), while Detroit led in blocked shots (9-7), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (12-9) and hits (14-9).
After two periods of play, the Red Wings were 0/2 and the Bruins were 0/4 on the power play.
Early in the final frame, Pastrnak caught a Red Wing with a high-stick on a follow through while trying to corral the puck, but failing.
The follow through went uncalled and actually better positioned Pastrnak to receive a pass from Bergeron as Pastrnak entered the attacking zone alone, faked a shot, then slid a pass to Krug (8) for the one-timer goal that tied the game, 1-1, just 33 seconds into the third period.
Pastrnak (40) and Bergeron (24) tallied the assists on Krug’s goal.
After that, things only went downhill for Boston.
DeBrusk returned the favor from earlier in the game and tripped Daley and gave Detroit a power play at 6:01.
The Bruins penalty kill lasted a little more than a minute into the special teams play before the Red Wings perfected a quick pass through the slot from Tyler Bertuzzi to Andreas Athanasiou (6) for the one-timer goal as Rask couldn’t keep up with the short-range blast.
Bertuzzi (20) and Dylan Larkin (25) notched the assists on Athanasiou’s first goal in about 20 games– putting Detroit back into command with the, 2-1, lead at 7:10 of the third period.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, but the Red Wings quickly capitalized on the open goal-frame in Boston’s own zone.
Detroit got a quick break out of their zone and sent Christoffer Ehn and Athanasiou on a two-on-one that became an unguarded breakaway– paving the way for Athanasiou (7) to score his second goal of the game and seal the deal on a, 3-1, victory for the Red Wings.
Ehn (2) and Filip Hronek (19) had the assists on Athanasiou’s empty net goal at 19:31.
At the final horn, Detroit finished the game with the, 3-1, win despite being outshot by Boston, 40-20.
The Red Wings finished the afternoon leading in blocked shots (12-10), giveaways (18-14) and hits (23-14), while the Bruins finished Sunday’s action leading in faceoff win% (55-45).
Detroit went 1/3 and Boston went 0/4 on the power play.
The B’s dropped to 10-2-6 when tied after one period and 5-8-4 when trailing after two periods this season and had their six-game winning streak snapped by the Red Wings who had lost 10 out of their last 11 games entering Sunday.
Detroit has now defeated Boston in their last five regular season meetings.
One consolation for Boston, however, is that they still have won seven out of their last nine games.
The Bruins home for a two-game homestand against Montreal on Wednesday (Feb. 12th) and Red Wings on Saturday (Feb. 15th) before going on a four-game road trip with stops against the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.
The Detroit Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 4-2, at Little Caesars Arena on Friday– winning for just the 2nd time in their last 14 games.
Jonathan Bernier (3-4-1 record, 3.35 goals against average, .891 save percentage in 10 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against for a .929 SV% in the win.
The Red Wings goaltender also had two assists in the effort.
Boston netminder, Tuukka Rask (7-2-1, 1.99 GAA, .933 SV% in 10 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced for a .903 SV% in the loss.
Boston fell to 11-3-2 (24 points) on the season, but still in command of 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while Detroit improved to 5-12-1 (11 points) so far this season. The Red Wings are still 8th in the Atlantic.
The Bruins fell to 4-3-1 on the road this season, while the Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak in their win over the B’s.
Boston also fell to 9-2-1 when scoring the game’s first goal this season and 1-2-1 when trailing after two periods.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Joakim Nordstrom (infection), Par Lindholm (upper body), David Backes (upper body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) on Friday, but Miller, Lindholm and Nordstrom all practiced with the team while wearing red no-contact sweaters on Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena.
Per B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, Nordstrom is the closest among the three to returning to the lineup.
Miller and Moore have yet to make their 2019-20 season debuts, while DeBrusk is still being evaluated and did not travel with the team to Detroit.
In an official scoring change made after Tuesday night’s loss in Montreal, Zach Senyshyn had an assist added to Connor Clifton and Anders Bjork’s goals against the Canadiens, yielding two assists for Senyshyn in his season debut in the process.
Peter Cehlarik and Senyshyn were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Thursday after Senyshyn and Cameron Hughes were originally assigned to Providence earlier in the week on Wednesday.
With DeBrusk out of the lineup, Cehlarik took over the second line left wing slot alongside David Krejci at center and Danton Heinen on right wing.
Senyshyn remained in his third line right wing spot with Bjork and Charlie Coyle.
Brett Ritchie (upper body) did not take part in warmups prior to Boston’s matchup with the Red Wings and was a late scratch from the lineup.
In his place, the Bruins went with seven defenders, allowing Steven Kampfer to join the lineup on the fourth line right wing in place of Ritchie– resulting in no healthy scratches for the B’s on Friday.
Kampfer, however, did not play a shift in Detroit.
On defense, Cassidy switched his first and third pairings up, moving Clifton to the first defensive pairing with Zdeno Chara to start the game and placing Charlie McAvoy with Matt Grzelcyk on the third pairing.
Krejci (2) kicked things off with the game’s first goal 69 seconds into the first period after Cehlarik worked the puck into the attacking zone, circled back towards the slot and found Krejci for the wrist shot goal on Bernier’s short side.
Cehlarik (1) had the only assist on Krejci’s goal and the Bruins jumped out to the, 1-0, lead.
But it was short lived.
Roughly 90 seconds after Boston scored, Dylan Larkin (5) skated past Clifton, wrapped around the net and banked the puck off of Patrice Bergeron’s skate and into the twine, tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
Madison Bowey (3) and Bernier (1) notched the assists on Larkin’s goal as the Red Wings pulled even at 2:41 of the first period.
A minute later, David Pastrnak hooked Detroit blue liner, Dennis Cholowski and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 3:40.
The Bruins managed to kill off Pastrnak’s minor, but went undisciplined midway through the opening frame as Brad Marchand took an interference penalty against Filip Hronek at 11:12.
Detroit only needed 37 seconds on the ensuing power play to capitalize on the skater advantage with Robby Fabbri (2) snapping a shot past Rask to give the Red Wings their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Tyler Bertuzzi (9) and Anthony Mantha (7) tallied the assists on Fabbri’s first goal with the Red Wings since being acquired by Detroit in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.
The Blues acquired Jacob de la Rose in the transaction.
Fabbri’s first goal of the night came at 11:49 of the first period.
Less than a minute later, Bowey was guilty of holding Heinen, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play opportunity.
After one period at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings led, 2-1, and shots on goal were even, 12-12.
Boston led in blocked shots (6-4) and takeaways (1-0) heading into the first intermission, while Detroit held the advantage in giveaways (6-2), hits (9-7) and faceoff win percentage (57-43).
The Red Wings were 1/2 on the power play heading into the second period and the Bruins were 0/1.
Pastrnak hooked Larkin 28 seconds into the second period and presented Detroit with an early skater advantage to begin the middle frame.
Fabbri (3) made sure to capitalize on the power play opportunity, acting as the bumper in the slot and scoring his 2nd goal of the night on a one-timer at 1:30 of the second period.
He became the 7th player in Red Wings history to score two or more goals in his team debut.
Bertuzzi (10) and Cholowski (4) had the assists on Fabbri’s 2nd power play goal of the game and Detroit led, 3-1.
Torey Krug sent the puck over the glass and out of play, yielding an automatic delay of game penalty at 3:30.
Detroit’s resulting power play opportunity was cut short as Larkin tripped up Chara behind the Boston net at 3:50, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a 1:41 span before the Bruins would have an abbreviated power play.
The B’s did not score on the skater advantage.
Midway through the second period, Marchand and Hronek exchanged pleasantries and dropped the gloves. Each received a five-minute major for fighting at 11:16.
It was just the 2nd fight of the season for the Bruins (previous, Ritchie vs. Barclay Goodrow on Oct. 29th against the San Jose Sharks).
A couple of minutes later, things were still chippy as Krejci was penalized for roughing Valtteri Filppula at 13:35.
In response, shortly after failing to convert on the skater advantage, Filppula tripped Pastrnak at 15:56 and elicited a power play chance for the Bruins.
With only seconds to spare on the advantage, Krug ripped a shot from the point that was deflected by Bergeron (8) in front of the net to cut Detriot’s lead to one-goal.
Krug (11) and Krejci (5) had the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal as the Bruins trailed, 3-2, at 17:52.
Through 40 minutes of action in Detroit, the Red Wings led, 3-2, on the scoreboard, but trailed Boston in shots on goal, 24-22– including a, 12-10, advantage for the B’s in the second period alone.
Detroit held the advantage in blocked shots (10-9), giveaways (12-2), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Boston led in takeaways (3-0).
The Red Wings were 2/5 on the skater advantage and the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play entering the third period,
Early in the final frame, Bowey slashed Marchand and was sent to the sin bin with a minor infraction at 4:34 of the third period.
Boston did not score on the ensuing power play.
Neither team found the back of the net until the Bruins pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker with about two minutes left in regulation.
Shortly thereafter, Mantha (10) pocketed an empty net goal at 18:32 and sealed the deal on the win for the Red Wings.
Bernier (2) had the only assist on the goal as Detroit finished the night with a, 4-2, win over Boston– dominating the third period in shots on goal, 10-4, bolstering their total shots on net advantage to, 32-28.
The Red Wings finished Friday night’s action leading in blocked shots (15-11), giveaways (17-7) and hits (27-21), while the Bruins finished the night leading in faceoff win% (51-49).
Detroit went 2/5 on the power play and Boston went 1/4 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins return home on Sunday for a two-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers (Sunday, Nov. 10th) and the Florida Panthers next Tuesday (Nov. 12th) before traveling to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs next Friday (Nov. 15th).
Anthony Mantha scored his first career hat trick in the midst of a five-point night on Sunday as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 5-3, at Little Caesars Arena.
Mantha became the first Red Wings player to record at least five points in a game against Boston since Steve Yzerman did so on Jan. 14, 1989. Yzerman had two goals and three assists that night.
Red Wings goaltender, Jimmy Howard (22-20-5 record, 3.02 goals against average, .909 save percentage in 52 games played) made 31 saves on 34 shots against for a .912 SV% in the win.
Meanwhile, B’s netminder, Jaroslav Halak (21-11-4, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV% in 39 GP) stopped 22 out of 27 shots faced (.815 SV%) in the loss.
Boston fell to 47-23-9 (103 points) on the season, but remained in control of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit improved to 31-38-10 (72 points) and crept over the Buffalo Sabres for 6th in the Atlantic (Detroit leads in regulation-plus-overtime wins, 28-26).
The Red Wings finished the season series with the 2-1-1 advantage.
Midway through the first period, Mantha (20) fired a one-timer over Halak’s glove on the short side to give the Red Wings the lead, 1-0.
Larkin (38) and Tyler Bertuzzi (23) had the assists on Mantha’s first goal of the night at 10:26 of the first period.
A few minutes later, Andreas Athanasiou slashed Krejci and sent the Bruins on their first power play of the night at 13:38. It was unsuccessful and shortly followed by another Boston power play at 17:07 when Christoffer Ehn slashed Backes.
Grzelcyk cut the B’s skater advantage short when he slashed Athanasiou at 19:04 and the two clubs had three seconds of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play for the Red Wings began.
As the seconds ticked away, it appeared as though the Bruins would be shorthanded to start the second period until Mantha (21) slapped another one-timer past Halak at 19:59 of the first period.
Niklas Kronwall (22) and Bertuzzi (24) tallied the assists on Mantha’s power play goal and Detroit led, 2-0, entering the first intermission.
After one period of play, the Red Wings led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 9-8, in shots on goal. Detroit also held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (7-0) and hits (4-3), while Boston led in face-off win percentage (56-44).
The Red Wings were 1/2 on the power play entering the second period and the Bruins were 0/2.
Early in the middle frame, Charlie McAvoy sent Krejci up the ice with DeBrusk on a rush. Krejci sent a lead saucer pass to bring DeBrusk behind the Detroit defense and on his own towards the net, whereby DeBrusk (25) roofed a shot over Howard’s blocker to put the B’s on the scoreboard, 2-1.
Krejci (49) and McAvoy (20) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal at 2:01 of the second period.
McAvoy later sent the puck over the glass and out of play at 8:12 of the second period and received an automatic delay of game penalty.
Marchand slid the puck over to Bergeron, awaiting a return pass while Bergeron dragged the rubber biscuit around Mantha as the Red Wings forward dove in a desperate attempt to breakup a passing lane.
Bergeron pulled the puck to his backhand and sent it across the slot for Marchand (35) to blast a one-timer past Howard as the Detroit goaltender slid across the crease.
The goal was Marchand’s 26th career shorthanded goal and put Marchand in sole possession of the Bruins franchise record for most career shorthanded goals with the club (Rick Middleton is now 2nd with 25).
Bergeron (46) and Carlo (7) notched the assists on Marchand’s shorthanded goal at 9:50 of the second period.
Noel Acciari took exception to the non-call as Witkowski charged an otherwise unsuspecting Nordstrom and exchanged fisticuffs with the Detroit skater.
Both players were assessed five-minute majors for fighting, while Acciari picked up an extra minor penalty for instigating and an automatic ten-minute misconduct as a result at 14:24.
Johansson served Acciari’s minor penalty while the Bruins were shorthanded, but Detroit’s ensuing power play wouldn’t last long as 20 seconds later, Athanasiou was called for interference at 14:44.
Neither team converted on the ensuing 4-on-4 action and abbreviated skater advantage for Boston thereafter.
With one minute remaining in the second period, Miller blasted a shot from the point that Backes (7) tipped behind Howard to give the Bruins their first lead of the night, 3-2.
Miller (7) and Krejci (50) had the assists on Backes’ goal at 19:00 of the second period.
Krejci reached the 50-assist plateau for the third time in his career (51 assists in 2008-09, 50 assists in 2013-14) with the secondary assist on the goal as Boston carried the, 3-2, lead into the second intermission.
Both teams were tied in shots on goal, 17-17, and takeaways, 2-2, after 40 minutes of play, while the Bruins led in blocked shots (15-8), hits (9-8) and face-off win% (53-47). The Red Wings led in giveaways (14-2) through two periods.
Detroit entered the third period 1/4 on the power play, while Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage.
DeBrusk was penalized for interference 69 seconds into the third period and sent the Red Wings on the power play. Eight seconds later, Detroit tied the game.
Mantha (22) completed his first career hat trick on yet another one-timer– this time after Bertuzzi completed the pass through the low slot– and the Red Wings tied the game, 3-3, at 1:17 of the third period.
Bertuzzi (25) and Athanasiou (21) recorded the primary and secondary assists, respectively, on the goal as the hats were cleaned up off the ice at Little Caesars Arena.
On the ensuing face-off, Kronwall worked the puck up to Athanasiou through the neutral zone as Athanasiou sped into the attacking zone and dropped a pass back to Hirose (1) for the one-timer from the slot.
Hirose notched his first career NHL goal and the Red Wings led, 4-3, at 1:25 of the third period.
Athanasiou (22) and Kronwall (23) had the assists, but Detroit was not done scoring yet.
Midway through the third, Hronek (5) fired a one-timer from the face-off dot to the right of Halak past the Bruins goaltender and into the twine to make it, 5-3, Red Wings.
Mantha (22) notched his fourth point of the evening with the only assist on Hronek’s goal at 12:03 of the third period.
About a minute later, Hirose cut a rut to the penalty box for slashing Coyle at 13:17, but Boston’s power play didn’t capitalize on the skater advantage.
With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Halak in favor of an extra attacker.
At 19:02 of the third period, Larkin (32) put Detroit in command of the, 6-3, victory with an empty net goal that was assisted by Mantha (23) and Hronek (15).
Upon the sound of the final horn, the Red Wings took home two points in a regulation win, despite trailing the Bruins in shots on goal (34-28), blocked shots (16-14) and face-off win% (52-48), but led in giveaways (16-4).
Detroit finished Sunday night 2/5 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 0/4 on the power play.
Boston finishes the season swinging through Columbus on April 2nd, making a stop in Minnesota on April 4th and wrapping up the regular season on April 6th at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Boston Bruins (47-22-9 record, 103 points, 2nd in the Atlantic Division) visit the Detroit Red Wings (30-38-10, 70 points, 7th in the Atlantic Division) at Little Caesars Arena for the final time this season on Sunday.
Boston has points in 17 out of their last 19 meetings against Detroit, amassing a 15-2-2 record in that span. This season, however, the Bruins are 1-1-1 this season against the Red Wings– most recently suffering a, 4-2, loss at TD Garden on Dec. 1st.
The B’s also lost, 3-2, in overtime at Detroit on Nov. 21st and downed the Red Wings, 8-2, on home ice on Oct. 13th this season.
As the season shifts its focus to the month of April and the looming 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins look to wrap up the month of March with ten wins. They are 9-5-0 entering Sunday in March, while the Detroit is 7-6-1 this month.
The Red Wings are coming off a, 4-0, shutout over the New Jersey Devils on Friday, while the Bruins are coming off a, 4-1, loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Bruce Cassidy is expected to make some lineup adjustments with Kevan Miller (upper body) returning to Cassidy’s blue line after missing the last 16 games and likely will suit up alongside his teammate, Matt Grzelcyk, on the third defensive pairing.
Karson Kuhlman was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on emergency basis as Boston kicks off a three-game road trip before their final game of the regular season next Saturday at home as Chris Wagner was not on the ice for warmups in Detroit.
With Wagner likely out of the action against the Red Wings, Kuhlman took rushes alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, with Cassidy reuniting the Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak line as his top line.
After Tuukka Rask allowed three goals against in Saturday’s loss to the Panthers, Cassidy will start Jaroslav Halak (21-10-4 record, 2.33 goals against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played) in Boston’s second game in as many nights.
As a result, Detroit recalled Dominic Turgeon and Kaden Fulcher from the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) with Turgeon, 23, likely to center the fourth line and Fulcher, 20, backing up Jimmy Howard (21-20-5, 3.02 GAA, .909 SV% in 51 GP) in net on Sunday.
Turgeon has 6-13–19 totals in 69 games for the Griffins this season and was the 63rd overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Red Wings.
Fulcher spent part of this season with the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) and amassed a 15-7-6 record, 3.00 GAA and .899 SV% in 28 games played prior to being reassigned to Grand Rapids. He signed as an undrafted free agent with Detroit in October 2017.
With Glendening missing the action against Boston, the Red Wings will not have a single player play a full 82-game season for the first time since 1996-97 when Steve Yzerman led Detroit in games played with 81.
Bernier was hurt in the second period on Friday and replaced by Howard prior to the start of the third period against New Jersey.
Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings with 31-37–68 totals in 72 games played this season.
We’re less than a month away from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so let’s take a gander at how things should shape up for the Central Division.
The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched the first postseason berth this season, Quinn Hughes signed his entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks, Shane Wright was granted exceptional status and the DTFR Duo presented the first few individual season awards.
*Zach Boychuk wasn’t actually on… …this time around, anyway.*
With 21 clubs enjoying their byes as a continuation of the All-Star Break, this week’s schedule was fairly light until tonight when the entire league got back into action. However, that’s not to say there wasn’t any big matchups – take a look for yourself:
|NHL SCHEDULE: January 28-February 3|
|TIME (ALL TIMES EASTERN)||VISITOR||HOST||NATIONAL BROADCAST(S)/
|Monday, January 28|
|7 p.m.||New Jersey||Pittsburgh||6-3|
|Tuesday, January 29|
|7 p.m.||Winnipeg||Boston||4-3 (SO)|
|7:30 p.m.||Philadelphia Flyers||New York Rangers||1-0|
|Wednesday, January 30|
|8 p.m.||Tampa Bay||Pittsburgh||2-4|
|Thursday, January 31|
|7 p.m.||Philadelphia||Boston||3-2 (OT)|
|7 p.m.||New York Rangers||New Jersey Devils||4-3|
|Friday, February 1|
|7 p.m.||Tampa Bay Lightning||New York Islanders|
|Saturday, February 2|
|1 p.m.||Edmonton||Philadelphia||NHLN, SN|
|2 p.m.||New Jersey||Montréal||RDS, TSN2|
|7 p.m.||Pittsburgh||Toronto||CBC, SN1|
|7 p.m.||Detroit||Ottawa||CITY, TVAS|
|7 p.m.||Los Angeles Kings||New York Islanders|
|7 p.m.||St. Louis||Columbus|
|8 p.m.||Tampa Bay||New York Rangers||NBC|
|10 p.m.||Vancouver Canucks||Colorado Avalanche||CBC, CITY, SN, SN1, SN360|
|10:30 p.m.||Arizona||San Jose|
|Sunday, February 3|
|2 p.m.||Edmonton||Montréal||RDS, SN|
With many of the week’s early games involving a majority of Eastern Conference teams, rivalries abound in this week’s schedule – starting with the Flyers’ tilt against the Rangers on Tuesday. After squaring off at Madison Square Garden, both clubs departed for another derby matchup, with New York taking on New Jersey and Philadelphia heading to Boston on Thursday. Tonight’s rivalry features Toronto in Detroit (more on that game in a moment), with Chicago taking on Minnesota tomorrow.
If player returns are your jam, there’s no bigger tilt this weekend than the Flames’ trip to Raleigh. Taking advantage of the systemic overhaul of the Hurricanes’ system, Calgary traded for F Elias Lindholm and D Noah Hanifin, who spent five and three seasons, respectively, with Carolina. The Flames also signed former three-year Cane C Derek Ryan out of free agency on July 1.
Of course, all of these moves were likely suggested by the Flames’ new Head Coach, Bill Peters. He spent four seasons in Carolina before getting the ax following the 2017-18 campaign.
Finally, we return to tonight’s previously mentioned Original Six showdown between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings. This is usually an exciting game to see on its own, but this game is even more special than usual since Red Kelly is getting his No. 4 retired beforehand.
Heck, you know what? Kelly was pretty cool (after all, he did win four Stanley Cups while also serving as a Canadian Member of Parliament), so let’s head to Motown.
Though they’ve managed to hold on to their second-place position in the Atlantic Division while sitting dormant for eight total days, the Leafs were surely disappointed to end the first half of their season on a 2-4-0 skid – even if those two wins did come against the division-leading Lightning and the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
To the surprise of none, Toronto’s biggest struggle during that skid was surely its defense. While the 32.6 shots against per game the Maple Leafs have allowed all season is far from impressive (in fact, it’s tied with Buffalo for eighth-worst in the league), they slacked-off even more in their last six games leading up to the All-Star Break to yield 34.83 shots against per game.
That’s the sixth-worst mark in the NHL since January 12, but General Manager Kyle Dubas is working to fix that issue.
Enter D Jake Muzzin: a player with a +10 rating through 50 games with the Los Angeles Kings, the second-worst team in the NHL with a league-worst -36 goal differential on the season.
While plus/minus is far from the best statistic in sports, the fact that we can pair it with his pedestrian offensive production (he’s managed only 4-17-21 totals so far this season) shows he’s doing at least something right on the defensive end (in other words, the stat is an effect, not a cause). In fact, if defensive point shares are your cup of tea, his defense provided four of the Kings’ 44 points in the standings.
Muzzin gets his work done by making his presence known. He’s just eight blocks short of averaging two per game on the season, and he’s made up for that along the boards by throwing 111 hits so far this campaign.
To put that in relation to his new teammates, Muzzin’s 1.84 blocks per game and 2.22 hits per game rank second and first, respectively, among the 18 Leafs that have at least 28 games played.
Talk about bulking up the defense.
One person hoping Muzzin’s defensive success makes the 4.5 hour trip from Tinseltown to T-dot is 6-3-1 G Garret Sparks, tonight’s presumed starter with the Penguins rolling into Toronto tomorrow. Sparks boasts a .907 save percentage and 2.91 GAA on the season, but has lost his last two appearances.
Should Sparks get the start tonight, it will be his fourth career outing against the Red Wings. He’s managed a 1-1-1 record against Detroit in his first three tries, winning his most recent matchup on December 23 despite allowing four goals. He brings a career .864 save percentage and corresponding 4.01 GAA against the Wings into tonight’s tilt.
Of course, the Maple Leafs’ defensive concerns are nothing when compared to the 19-25-7 Detroit Red Wings, as they’ve struggled in effectively every facet of the game this season – made evident by their position in second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference.
Looking specifically at the Wings’ last eight games that saw them post a 3-5-0 record, the biggest struggle of late has been their offense – just like Toronto, no surprises here. Similar to its 2.8 goals per game for the entire season, Detroit’s 2.88 goals per game since January 6 ranks seventh-worst in the NHL.
Beyond the top-line pairing of F Dylan Larkin (3-5-8 totals in his last eight outings) and W Gustav Nyquist (1-7-8 since January 6), the Red Wings struggle to find much offensive. Those players’ respective season points totals of 48 and 43 headline the team, but third-best F Andreas Athanasiou has registered only 30. Despite the goal-scoring potential Athanasiou still shows at 24-years-old, the fact that 30 points in 45 games played is third-best on a team perfectly showcases just how little Detroit has at its disposal.
How much longer until W Filip Zadina is ready, again? Oh, he only has 22 points in 37 AHL games played… great. The odds of any sort of call up for the young Czech is sliding in LW Matt Puempel’s favor more and more – an experiment I’m surprised the Wings haven’t tried yet this season considering they have nothing to lose. After all Puempel’s 36 points in 44 AHL games played is second-best in Grand Rapids.
As for who’s going to win this game, I think the answer is obvious: after a well-deserved rest, the Maple Leafs’ offense should be ready to get back into form. And even if Toronto doesn’t hit the 3.55 goals per game it’s grown grown accustomed to this season, Detroit’s anemic offense shouldn’t pose much of a threat, even against the likes of Sparks. Toronto should take care of business easily tonight.
A bunch of minor trades were made in the last week, the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game rosters were released, as well as the 2019-20 outdoor game schedule. Nick and Connor also discuss the legacy that was the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and the 2019 IIHF World Junior Quarterfinal upsets.
*Editor’s Note: Of course, after recording this week’s episode, the Philadelphia Flyers claimed G Mike McKenna off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.
For the first time since October 4, 2013, the Detroit Red Wings have a victory in regulation at TD Garden, having beaten the Boston Bruins, 4-2, on Saturday.
Jimmy Howard (9-6-3, 2.66 goals against average, .923 save percentage in 19 games played) backstopped the Red Wings to victory, stopping 38 out of 40 shots faced for a .950 SV% in the win, while Bruins netminder, Tuukka Rask (6-5-2, 2.59 GAA, .915 SV% in 13 GP) turned aside 23 out of 26 shots against for a .917 SV% in the loss.
Boston remained in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, despite the loss, with a 14-8-4 record (32 points) on the season, while Detroit jumped to 6th place in the Atlantic with a 12-11-3 record and 27 points on the year.
Brandon Carlo returned to the lineup for the B’s on the blue line after missing the last nine games with an upper body injury. As a result, Bruce Cassidy made Steven Kampfer a healthy scratch, alongside Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (healthy scratch), Zdeno Chara (lower body, left MCL), Patrice Bergeron (upper body), Urho Vaakanainen (concussion), Charlie McAvoy (concussion) and Kevan Miller (throat) in the press box.
Cassidy kept the same lines from Thursday night’s overtime win against the New York Islanders, but adjusted his defensive pairs as such with John Moore alongside Matt Grzelcyk, Torey Krug with Carlo and Jeremy Lauzon on the bottom pair with Connor Clifton.
Boston killed off the penalty with ease and swapped special team units from their penalty kill to the power play about 30 seconds after Cave returned to the ice as Abdelkader slashed Krug at 3:38 of the first period.
The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing power play.
Shortly thereafter, Dennis Cholowski caught David Pastrnak with a high-stick at 16:30, sending the B’s back on the power play for the third time Saturday night, but while the Bruins couldn’t score on the Red Wings on the power play, they did strike in the vulnerable minute thereafter.
David Backes (2) retrieved the puck along the wall in the attacking zone and sent a backhand towards the goal whereby the puck deflected off of Cholowski and went past Howard to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 3.8 seconds remaining in the first period.
Moore (3) and Cave (1) had the assists on Backes’ goal at 19:56. Cave’s assist was his first career NHL point in just his 8th career NHL game (Cave appeared in three games last season and five so far this season).
Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and trailed Detroit, 13-11, in shots on goal. The Bruins, however, held the advantage in blocked shots (6-4) and giveaways (6-3), while the Red Wings led in takeaways (5-3), hits (9-5) and face-off win percentage (65-35).
Both teams were 0/2 on the power play after on period.
Tyler Bertuzzi (9) tied things up, 1-1, at 5:45 of the second period on a deflection past Rask off of a shot from Rasmussen. The primary assist was credited to Rasmussen (4), while Mike Green (12) picked up the secondary assist.
Bertuzzi thought he had a pair of goals midway through the middle frame, Thomas Vanek had slid between Clifton and Rask just enough to clip Rask’s stick and prevent him from playing in the crease to disallow the goal– this was determined after Boston used their coach’s challenge, reversing the call on the ice.
With the game still tied, 1-1, tempers began to flare.
First, Cholowski slashed Chris Wagner at 12:47 of the second period. Then Luke Witkowski delivered a hit on David Krejci that didn’t sit well with Boston’s bench given it was the second consecutive game in which Krejci took a big– but clean– blow.
Joakim Nordstrom answered the call and promptly fought Witkowski in defense of his teammate at 15:08 of the middle period.
Shortly thereafter, all hell broke loose.
Brad Marchand delivered a hit on Nick Jensen along the boards in a clean manner that didn’t sit well with Detroit given Witkowski’s clean check on Krejci moments before. Nonetheless, Bertuzzi decided he’d give Marchand a piece of his mind and the two engaged in a battle of words and sticks with Bertuzzi delivering an uncalled cross-check.
Cave came over to respond to the third-man-in mentality of Bertuzzi and a small scrum ensued– right about the time Howard was vacating his net for a delayed call on Marchand.
Howard bumped into the scrum and swung his stick around to the observation of Rask at the other end of the ice in the crease, whereby– as everyone on the ice paired up along the benches– Rask came bursting with speed into the pile and tried to engage Howard in a fight, but the refs broke the two goaltenders up.
We almost had a goalie fight, ladies and gentlemen. Almost.
In the end, Marchand received a slashing minor and Cave was served one as well. Howard got an infraction for roughing, Rask was penalized for leaving the crease, and Jacob de la Rose received two-minutes for slashing too.
Bertuzzi shortly followed up with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty of his own before Detroit ended up on the power play after all was said and done.
Dylan Larkin (10) capitalized on a scramble in front of Rask after the Bruins netminder made the initial stop. Noel Acciari failed to clear the puck and Nyquist kept it in the zone– flinging the rubber biscuit back to the slot for Larkin to pot the puck into the twine.
Abdelkader (4) and Nyquist (16) had the assists on Larkin’s power play goal at 17:36 of the second period and the Red Wings led, 2-1.
Before the second period ended, Green hooked Pastrnak and the Bruins would be on the power play at 18:42 and into the third period.
Heading into the dressing room after 40 minutes, Detroit led, 2-1, and was tied in shots on goal with Boston, 20-20. The Bruins outshot the Red Wings, 9-7, in the second period alone and held onto the advantage in giveaways (8-5).
The Red Wings led in blocked shots (11-9), takeaways (7-4), hits (17-16) and face-off win% (57-43). Detroit was 1/3 on the power play heading into the final frame and Boston was 0/5.
Danny DeKeyser caught Acciari with a high-stick at 4:45 of the third period and the Bruins went on the power play for the sixth time in the game.
This time, Boston converted on the ensuing skater advantage with Ryan Donato (2) flying in on a rush and firing the puck past Howard, high, short-side over the blocker into the twine.
Donato’s power play goal tied the game, 2-2, at 5:31 of the third period and was assisted by Pastrnak (11) and Krug (12).
Past the mid-point of the final frame, Nielsen (1) tipped in a shot from the point by DeKeyser and gave the Red Wings the lead back on what would become the game-winning goal at 11:53 of the third period.
DeKeyser (6) and Nyquist (17) had the assists on the goal and Detroit led, 3-2.
The goal was Nielsen’s first goal in 27 games– dating back to March 27, 2018.
Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker with about two minutes remaining in regulation, but it wasn’t enough to muster any fighting chance of an effort in the Bruins crew that looked flat after a rousing second period that almost broke-out in a line-brawl.
Nyquist (4) flung a puck from about the red line into the empty net to give Detroit a two-goal lead and secure the 4-2 victory. DeKeyser (7) had the only assist on Nyquist’s goal at 19:33 of the third period.
At the final horn, the Red Wings sealed the deal on the win and beat the Bruins, 4-2, despite Boston outshooting Detroit, 40-27. Detroit finished the night leading in blocked shots (16-9), hits (22-21) and face-off win% (63-37), while the B’s led in giveaways (11-6).
The Wings finished the night 1/4 on the power play and Boston went 1/6.
These two Atlantic Division rivals meet once more this season on March 31, 2019 in Detroit with the Red Wings leading the season series, 2-1-0.
Boston travels to Florida for a two-game road trip, swinging through Sunrise, Florida for a matchup against the Panthers on Tuesday and Tampa, Florida on Thursday for a battle with the Lightning before returning home next Saturday to host the Toronto Maple Leafs.